Panera Bread Company (Nasdaq: PNRA) announced today it has opened two new bakery-cafes in Colorado. One store, located in Aurora, is owned and operated by the founder of Panera Bread and existing franchisee, Ken Rosenthal. The other bakery-cafe opened in Boulder by David Postle, a new franchisee.

The company said these bakery-cafes are the first to open in Colorado and represent Panera Bread’s westernmost expansion to date. Rosenthal plans to open a total of 40 stores in Denver and surrounding suburbs with the second to open in the fourth quarter this year. Postle’s bakery-cafe is the first to open as part of an agreement to develop 10 bakery-cafes in metropolitan Boulder and parts of Wyoming. Postle is scheduled to open two more bakery-cafes in the Boulder area by year’s end.

Ron Shaich, Panera Bread chairman and chief executive officer, said, “The opening of these bakery-cafes in Colorado is consistent with our strategy to expand our presence in the western United States. We are proud to have the founder of Panera Bread add to his number of franchise stores. In addition, Postle’s in-depth knowledge of the food industry will provide added value to the rapidly growing number of Panera Bread bakery-cafes scheduled to open in new markets.”

Rosenthal founded Saint Louis Bread Co. (now Panera Bread) in 1987 and sold the business in 1993. Now as a franchisee, Rosenthal has opened 10, 4, and 2 bakery-cafes in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton, OH, respectively. Postle owns five Wendy’s restaurants in Boulder and brings more than 20 years experience in the food service industry.

Panera Bread owns and franchises bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co. names. The company is in the emerging specialty bread/cafe category, with a unique bread product combined with a quick, casual dining experience.

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